Applying for an Undergraduate Degree in Philosophy
Getting an advanced degree is a challenge, no matter what discipline or profession you are in. This is also the case of philosophy, and you must be very thorough considering the application requirements for your program and choosing the best philosophy school. The more programs you explore and the more attentive you are choosing the best philosophy program the better chances you will have to obtain an advanced philosophy degree.
If you want to complete an undergraduate program in philosophy, you will find the application process to be similar across most programs. Still, you are the only responsible for analyzing and exploring the expectations and requirements the school of your choice imposes on its applicants. If you have already completed an undergraduate degree, then you will see that the process of applying for a graduate degree will be significantly more difficult. However, even taking into account the difference between undergraduate and graduate programs, the most important thing to consider is whether the school you have chosen offers a good and recognized philosophy program and if this program actually fits your expectations and interests.
In undergraduate philosophy programs, everything is much simpler than in graduate ones
When you seek a graduate degree in philosophy, do not hesitate to review our recommendations for obtaining a graduate degree in a philosophy school in the U.S. In the meantime, if you are just a beginner, you should pay attention to how prestigious the school is and how great a philosophy program it serves. You will hardly know anything beyond a very general understanding of philosophy degrees. You are likely to have no idea about your future specialization and practice.
Your first step will be to explore the schools offering undergraduate philosophy programs and communicate either with the members of the faculty staff or with the students who have already completed the program. You may also talk to those who are currently enrolled, so that they give you a better glimpse into the whole process of applying to a philosophy program. Make up a list of prospective candidates you want to contact before you choose a philosophy school for yourself. You can also create a list of the most prominent philosophy schools, from the least to the most desired. You can present this list in the form of a table, which includes physical location, length and prestige of the program, tuition and other costs, and so on. See what schools you can reasonably apply to, because it is your prestige and responsibility. You will need to review where they are physically located, because you should have no difficulty reaching the school during studies. Besides, it is always great to have some of your money saved, even if you have more than enough to cover tuition and accommodation. This is particularly the case of international students, who usually pay twice as much as domestic students for the same amount of learning. Here you may also want to consider funding possibilities. See if there are any deadlines for funding requests and applications. Access schools’ websites and see what they offer in terms of application procedures for prospective students, funding and accommodation possibilities, and so on. You should look under the “undergraduate” section of the website, as this is where it provides the whole information about your program.
As an international student you will need to submit your language proficiency scores, for example SAT and TOEFL. Review the admissions page of the school’s website and find the section where it says what you need for a fast and successful admission. Most likely, you will need to submit your high school transcripts, your linguistic proficiency certificates, and a letter of motivation or intent to explain why you are applying for the program and how it will benefit your future. Gather copies of all documents required by the chosen institution and submit the finished application according to the deadline. These may include:
Language proficiency test scores – these are usually forwarded to the school of your choice directly from the organization that was testing you. You will just need to pay a fee for mailing services.
Transcripts – these are official copies and their certified translations. If needed, you may ask your school to forward copies of your transcripts directly to the program you have selected for your studies. At the same time, your selected institution may ask you to standardize your documents according to the grade requirements accepted in the U.S.
Recommendations – you will hardly find a single philosophy school today that does not ask its applicants to provide a letter of recommendation. You will have to ask your former supervisors to provide recommendations to you. Make sure that all recommendations are sent to your selected college right before the deadline.
Letter of motivation or intent – in most cases, you will need to craft a letter of motivation or intent, in which you will describe your background and motivation to pursue an undergraduate degree in philosophy and explain why you are the best candidate to receive funding in this particular program.
The admission requirements may vary across philosophy schools, which is why you should be confident that you have gathered and sent all documents required by your selected program. Even when you have already sent all documents, monitor the progress. Do not lose any control over the application process. Learn if all documents have reached the designated institution on time and that they have been duly accepted. Then you will have to wait for a decision made by the institution, so that you know whether you are in or you should apply to a different school. Even a single mistake in a document or a delay in delivering it with your application will zero your chances to apply for a program of your dream. You will either have to correct the wrong documentation or start the whole process from the very beginning. Because your documents come from abroad, it may take more time for them to reach the school. Do not forget about it. Choose a school whose application process is simple and a philosophy program is distinguished. This is always the best option for you!